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  • Rebecca Skinner

Bereavement

I’ve only recently just started to share this page, initially I wasn’t too sure if I ever would. For so many years I have lacked confidence, fear of sharing my thoughts and true self that I have shied away. However, as I move forward with my journey, I increasingly realise I should share my true self, my thoughts, be they happy, sad, angry, worried or any of the myriad of other emotions I can often feel.


When we consider the idea of loss, we immediately think of the death of a loved one, but loss encompasses so many other areas of our life. It can include the break up of friendships, divorce, retirement, even the loss of an addiction. No matter what the loss, there can be many stages of grief and some theories suggest we need to move through each stage before we can reach closure or move forward, but there are many people who can become ‘stuck’ at any one of these stages. The most commonly accepted stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.


In my counselling course, we covered the idea of loss and bereavement, discussing the various stages a person can move through, but this raised a question in myself. How do we ever know if we have reached the ‘end’ of the grieving process? How do we know if we have been through every stage? Do we actually have to go through EACH stage, or can we skip a couple and find ourselves at the end?


My parents and I would have an annual holiday, in my earlier years this would be to Cornwall, the home of my grandparents. I have many fond memories here, from my dad carving the sand to resemble giant turtles, feeding my grandfather dog biscuits for being a ‘good boy’ whilst walking him on a dog lead, and of course, playing with the hundreds of butterflies on the Buddleja, admiring their beauty and delicacy. Even now I can feel the peace wash over me, normally as soon as I reach the Dartmoor boarder, there is something in the air with Cornwall, it is my sanctuary, it feels like ‘home’.


In later years we started having holidays in France, Brittany specifically, I can see why my parents fell in love with it’s beautiful granite rose coast and turquoise seas, in many ways it is similar to Gorran Haven and the South Cornwall coast. Eventually they fell in love so much they purchased a house and would take frequent trips to visit their new home and maintain it’s extensive garden.


On 23rd August 2006 my father passed away whilst on holiday at their new home, suffering a sudden heart attack. I was pregnant at the time and at work. I can clearly remember that day something not being quite right. It’s hard to describe, did I have a sixth sense something had happened? I was always a Daddy’s girl so perhaps I did. I remember my manager receiving a phone call, I knew something was wrong and I knew the call related to me. Shortly after she asked to have a chat, taking me to a room where my (then) husband was waiting, “it’s your Dad, he’s died”. Those words will never leave my ears forever more, nor the feeling of having my world totally ripped apart. It was as if a huge hole had appeared from nowhere and I was falling. I was falling and falling until I reached my parents home in France.


I don’t know if I ever really grieved properly, I was upset, distraught, uncontrollable at times. At the same time I was heavily pregnant, working, settling in to a new home, told to have a ‘stiff upper lip’ by my grandmother at the funeral and I needed to be there for my Mum. I cannot possibly ever begin to imagine how she must have felt, watching him pass and being powerless to stop it.


For many years I thought I was ‘over it’, had found ‘closure’, but my course has made me think again. What if sometimes we can never truly find closure? What if our love is so strong it prevents us moving forward. We may appear to the rest of the world as if we are moving on, but how do we know if we truly are or not? I really do hold my heart on my sleeve, I am very emotional at the best of times, so the tears that still flow for my father, are they a sign I haven’t found closure, or is that just ‘me’?


When I consider the stages mentioned above, I believe I can tick them all. I was most definitely in denial and very angry with the world. I was angry with God, how could he do this? Angry with the police who my Dad had worked for, as I blamed them for the crazy hours and terrible work-life balance he had to put up with. I was angry with myself for not being there, not being a better daughter and I was even angry with my Dad, he should have fought harder, how could he leave us?! I most definitely have suffered the darkest depths of depression over the years and I accept my Dad is no longer here, I accept he will never be physically back in my life. Yet I talk to the Robin that appears most days in my garden, I believe it is him visiting me, to keep an eye and reassure me and I am absolutely positive some of my Dad has been ‘reborn’ into my son who entered this world the following December. Does this make me crazy? Does this mean I have never truly found closure?

To be honest I am not sure I’ll ever have an answer, but if I figure one out, I’ll let you know!


In loving memory of my dad - you will always be my hero!


#bereavement

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